Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 30

My goals for September were:
1.  Get up every morning at 6 a.m.  19 out of 30 days.
2.  No Alcohol  30 out of 30 days!
3.  No Coffee  30 out of 30 days!
4.  Keep a Food Journal  6 out of 30 days.
5.  Update this blog every day 17 out of 30 days
6.  Do knee exercises  4 out of 30 days
7.  Walk every day for at least 20 minutes  15 out of 30 days
8.  Finish the days tasks before going to bed  17 out of 30 days
9.  Read a piece of good literature  I did read and finish The Great Gatsby

While I didn't really track these things here, I did (usually) put them in my daily planner.  That turned out to be a better way to track anyway.  I think if I'd have done a better job of tracking, I might now be able to look back and determine if there was any kind of pattern to where I accomplished, or blew off any of these things.

I think I will extend my goals to next month - with the exception of the coffee and alcohol thing.  That is just too much outside of normal society!  The one thing I'd like to add as a stated goal is losing 2 pounds per week.  I have noticed that cutting calories or intake is absolutely NOT enough to take off pounds.  You HAVE to add in the exercise part.  AND, this walking 20 minutes per day - for me anyway - is also absolutely NOT enough to take off pounds!  

Somehow actually doing strenuous exercise regularly is the hardest part for me.  It will prove to be even more of a challenge this month because I'm going to be very busy!  Rehearsal and set construction starts for the high school's fall musical "The Who's Tommy."  My son is Uncle Ernie, AND the student leader in charge of promotion. This means that my husband and I will be spending many of our evenings til 11 at the high school  painting, building and sewing. Plus, he is on the homecoming court, which means we have a parade and a dance to add into the mix. My daughter starts her new second job as an early morning barrista, which will throw off our morning routine established when she was peacefully sleeping til noon!  For my work there are two concerts this month, one Chamber, and one full Orchestra. The great part about my job is that we have to attend promotional socials and receptions leading up to the concerts - it's a good thing I'm easing up on my alcohol and coffee restrictions!  Also in the mix is a college visiting trip that my husband and son are going to take sometime in the middle of the month.  

Phew!  I'm tired already!  Is it too early for a martini?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Decadence is my will-power's kryptonite!

"Oh, I so admire your will -power!"  Yeah, that's what all my friends say, in response to me turning down yet another lunch, piece of cake, glass of wine. For me, it's not really that hard to turn down some things, because frankly, some of the things that are offered just aren't special enough to warrant breaking my "vows."  Emphasis on the word some!  I can take or leave most store-bought birthday cakes, or cookies, or invitations to chain restaurants, or fast food places.  And my frugality, more than my willpower is in charge when I turn down a glass of wine.  But yesterday, my willpower met it's match, and I learned that I am quite easily swayed by high quality decadence!

Yesterday a woman in my office was celebrating her birthday, so my boss brought in treats.  I thought I would be able to decline easily, since the small, but sinful sweet shop she usually frequents is closed on Mondays.  But I was wrong.  She went to an organic bakery and brought fresh, warm, whole-grain rolls - one of which, a cheese drizzled, sun-dried tomato jalapeno bun called to me loudly as soon as she walked through the door!  After the satisfying experience of eating that, and just before the guilt set in, my son called and invited me to lunch with he and his girlfriend.  I was pretty sure we'd go to a popular downtown artisanal restaurant where I'd easily be able to choose a healthy salad that might offset the extra calories oh so deliciously consumed along with that jalapeno roll.  Wrong again!  Yes, I could have ordered the local organic greens salad, but why would I, when the soup of the day is Lobster Bisque?!  The trojan horse of thick buttery, velvety, creamy, sauce, and chunks of fresh lobster, easily carried four million calories past my distracted lips.

So, numbed and drowsy from it's guilty pleasures, my famous will-power refused to kick in - even at home.  After the hour of eight o'clock p.m., when technically I am not supposed to eat, I opened the refrigerator.  Inside was a carton of Greek style yogurt.  Thick, creamy, velvety goodness... Shhhh!  Don't tell my will-power it's fat free!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Oh, Hi!  Life kind of got in the way of writing, as I suppose it does for everyone else.  Still on the eating plan, still losing weight, still trying to fit the exercise and writing into my daily routine. Meanwhile, through some stellar networking skills on my part, my daughter was able to take the initiative to apply for and get a job before it was even listed!  She also got her ACT scores back, and while they weren't really high, they were passing!  My son was cast in the high school musical, not for the part he wanted necessarily, but still a major role, and a quirky character to boot!  He also received notification that he is a National AP Scholar, and that he is on the Homecoming Court - all on the same day!  Then, both of them took off separately to visit out of town friends who've gone off to college - one on the train, and one driving.  Also, while working the phone bank for a local fund drive, I happened to meet a woman who lived in Goleta during the 70s and 80s, then moved to Fargo! It was really good to talk to someone from the 'hood! What a wild week this has been!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Grass IS Always Greener...

Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it, and it's not going to be what you expected.  
Sadly, I'm just too darn happy. As a result of my 'lifestyle change' I no longer have anything interesting to write about.  All my life, I've wanted to - as my daughter said when she was three - 'get done with busy' but when you are not struggling, and you have the time to do the things you want to do, lets just say it - you are boring!  There is nothing funny about losing weight.  There is no story to write about when the house is already clean and people drop by unexpectedly. No one visits your blog to read about a woman of a certain age who isn't having hot flashes anymore. I'm convinced that the funniest blogs are written by depressed, overweight, alcoholics.  Do you think it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Learning, And Making Progress

I must say that while these posts have not been the best examples of my writing, or wit, I do appreciate the occasional person and regular visitors (I'm looking at you STM) who drops by to read.  It makes me feel humble, and accountable.

My husband and I started walking outside after dinner for about 20 minutes.  It's not the hour-long 3mph sprint on the treadmill I was aiming at, but it is a start.  By not succumbing to the relaxing glass or two of wine after dinner, I actually have time to make and eat dinner, do the dishes, take a walk, and spend some quality time with family (whichever ones happen to be home that is).   My stress level has dropped to practically nothing this week, because I (and the rest of the family) have been able to maintain a relatively clean house since doing a thorough "white tornado" this past weekend.  I have read a good piece of literature every night, and have not eaten anything after 7:30 p.m. I hate to admit it, but cutting out the alcohol really has had a dramatic effect on my days.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mmmmm Pie!

I really feel like seeing that Dr. Oz segment yesterday really gave me the foundation, the guidelines, that I really need for this lifestyle change.  I felt pretty good about myself (despite this post) because of the steps that are set forth on the Dr. Oz site, I've already done quite a few!  He has a team of experts, a Nutritionist, a Personal Trainer, A Coach, and an Interventionist on this team.  Each expert had one important point to share.  The Nutritionist said to eliminate high fructose corn syrup.  DONE!  Checkmark!  The Personal Trainer said to get moving, OK, easier said than done... I realized that I've done very well at cutting out things in the past 14 days, but apparently I've carefully avoided adding the physical fitness portion, which - I know - is perhaps the most important part, the part that when implemented will start to show the most results.  The Coach said to exercise portion control... well, I'm kinda sorta doing that.  And the Interventionist said to stop using food as a drug.  I give myself a DONE!  and Checkmark! on that one too.  I don't think I am an emotional eater, but I did let myself use alcohol both as a stress reliever and a reward.  After 15 days of no coffee and no alcohol, I'm not even missing it, and I haven't started snacking, or eating outside of my plan to compensate, so yeah, I've got that one covered!

There are essentially five rules to this "game."  They are as follows:
1.  Cut out sugary soda (another DONE!)
2.  Don't eat after 8 p.m., or three hours before bed
3.  Move for 10 minutes or more per day
4.  No snacks larger than your fist
5.  Track what you weigh and eat every day

For rule #5 I have been using an online food diary from Lance Armstrong's Livestrong website.  It has thousands of foods built in to the database, and when you start typing in what you ate, it gives you suggestions of what that food is.  The great thing is that it already has things like how much 1 serving is, and calories, sodium, fat, sugar, etc., already calculated.  So, at the end of the day, once you've entered in everything you put in your mouth that day, you get a total calorie count, and a daily, weekly and monthly percentage of your nutrition, in numbers and in a colorful pie chart.... mmmmmm pie!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where are those jumper cables?

Welcome to the First Day of the Rest of My Life... I hope...

I just got some extra motivation to jumpstart the healthy new me I've been trudging towards.  Dr. Oz! I am going to follow his Personal Health Plan and assorted challenges designed to encourage the things I'm already doing and provide help where and when I need it.

Let's go!  I just have to remember, it’s not a race to the finish line, its a new life style.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Today both kids took the ACT test at MSUM.  Jarrod, because he forgot he'd signed up for it the first time and was three rehearsals into the Trollwood season before he remembered.  Kelsie, because she'd originally registered to start at the tech college in culinary arts - perhaps because the tech college didn't require the ACT - but then decided she wanted to go to MSUM, which does.

I just have to say, I, for one, am really glad that the tension in this house is somewhat diminished!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Do I Go From Here?

I get all excited when I read the subject of emails that say:  Five Ways To Feed Your Family Healthier Food!  or Five Ways To Live a Healthier Life!  or Five Ways To Cut Your Grocery Bill! ...  then I read it, and damn, if I'm not already doing most, if not all of their suggestions. Its rather disappointing.  If I'm already doing everything right, how can I improve?  Why should I improve?

I'm 10 days into this "grand" experiment and the biggest thing I've accomplished is to not drink coffee or alcohol, and to actually update this blog every day.  I will confess that I truly believed that the alcohol and coffee were the biggest offenders when it came to loosing weight and waking up without aches and stiff muscles.  Apparently I was wrong on both accounts.  Besides the 2 pounds that I lost in the first couple of days, my weight has stayed basically the same. And, for some reason I continue to wake up with a neck and headache which really does not motivate me to get on the treadmill at all.  I'll admit that my energy is up a little, and I don't fall over dead at 10 pm anymore.  I've been able to cook dinner, AND clean up the kitchen before bed, which is something new for me, but beyond that, life is basically the same. 

Maybe 10 days isn't enough time to make any difference.  Maybe I AM perfect, and like all those emails suggest, already do everything right.  NOT!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


A little farewell to summer dinner on this lovely evening... grilled turkey burgers with bacon cheddar, coleslaw with strawberry vinaigrette, Texas beans, and strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sucess in a small, but lovely way

Went to a lovely dinner with the Symphony Babes last night.  Had a lovely Indian dinner of Chicken Tika Masala, Curried Eggplant and Cauliflower, Massaged Kale Salad with Papaya, and some lovely gelato for dessert.  Lovely conversation, lots of laughs.  The babes drank wine and coffee - I, drank Archer Farms Blood Orange soda!  Lovely!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Good Luck With That

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."  ~Roy Disney   Ordinarily, I'd agree with just about any quote that came from a Disney, but this quote, on this day puts me in a quandary.  By definition, values are basic convictions of what is right, good, or desirable,  they reflect what you think is important.  For most people it's broad things like happiness, satisfaction in life, wisdom, peace and harmony. For me right now, the overarching value is sticking to my goals.  The quandary comes in because while sticking to my goals is good and right and important, I also happen to value wine and coffee.  Which isn't to say that wine and coffee aren't good and right and important, it's just that I have to make the decision to not value them quite as much for a while....which is why today may prove to be difficult.

I am going to dinner this evening with the girls from my office to meet and welcome to the community a cousin of one of them.  Now really, there are no better people for me to be with than the girls from my office.  When it comes to values, the broad important ones, we are in complete agreement.  In fact we are also in complete agreement on the value of wine and coffee. A Wine and Coffee Bar, being the very thing that this cousin has come to the community to create and manage.

So here I am, struggling to maintain my abstinence from these two seductive substances, and I will find myself in a situation where there will be an abundance of both, discussing names, and menu offerings designed to seduce customers into partaking.  And I have to decide not to partake.   As my daughter would say, 'good luck with that.'

Monday, September 6, 2010

Patience and Small Steps Do Pay Off.... Eventually

I'm seven days into my new lifestyle... thats what I'm calling it.  A new lifestyle.  Makes what I'm doing sound much more cool and interesting than it really is.  Actually it makes it sound much less painful than it really is, like the new lifestyle is all tan people in bikinis frolicking on a white sandy beach saying "hey, come join us, we're thin and healthy, and never get winded or sore muscles!" 

Well, being one of those beach people is the goal of all this, its just the miles and miles of trudging to get there that irks me.  I have seen a bit of progress... I've lost three pounds in 7 days!  So, I got that going for me...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Isn't Sunday Sposta Be a Day of Rest?!?

The Universe appears to be with me on my endeavors.  I had planned on a slight transgression this  weekend, since I thought we'd be eating junk and greasy food, an at the Rollag Steam Threshers festival, but events have conspired in my favor.  Turns out last night we dawdled around long enough for the concession stands to be closed when we got there.  Then instead of going there again this morning for a million calorie breakfast of eggs, hash browns, pancakes, sausage and egg coffee, it turned out that we didn't have to give Bobby a ride at 5:15 a.m. like we'd planned, so we went back to bed and rose 5 hours later to the clean and healthy tea and oatmeal.  

Got a lot done around the house today, cleaned out the garage, and got some healthy groceries to encourage eating at home.  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Still No Magical Transformation

And pretty much nuthin' to write about... 

Aha!  Just as I suspected!  My muse has left me for someone who drinks coffee, and wine, and lattes, and martinis...

drunk fairy

Friday, September 3, 2010

This is NOT what I expected

Yeah, I'm an optimist and I'm finding out that I don't have much patience either.  When I started this torture experiment 8 months three days ago I kinda expected to see a little bit of the magical transformation begin to happen by now.

When the women in my office were putting me through the Spanish Inquisition asking me why the hell anyone would voluntarily sentence themselves to 30 days without wine what my motivation was for starting this, I explained that I wanted to wake up with more pep, and less aches.  I pictured myself rising easily at 6:00 a.m. my blood hydrated by several glasses of water the day before and no wine, and serenely going about my morning routine enjoying the quiet before everyone else gets up.  The reality has been sleeping fitfully, waking up to the alarm at 6 with a sneer, a headache and bafflingly sore muscles!  I'm baffled since I have yet to do even one of the physical exercises I laid out in my goals.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch

Well, in fulfilling all of my goals yesterday I give myself a 50%. But that's a positive, glass-half-full 50%! Out of the five rather long and vague goals I finally wrote down, I accomplished three.  And the reason three out of five equals only 50% is that those three were the relatively passive ones. And really, given the events of my day, I'm actually very proud of myself.

I did not drink coffee, but rather substituted some lovely English Breakfast tea when I got up at 6a.m.  Yes, I know there is probably more caffeine in that than coffee, but it is a step.  I fulfilled my writing commitment, I stuck to my eating plan, AND I did not drink alcohol ... even though I found myself at the end of the day facing three tables full of food, and a wine bar - all FREE!

Garrison Keillor's Summer Love Tour Show played at Trollwood's Imagine Theatre outdoor stage. My husband is on the Board so we had to go hobnob with the patrons got to go early and enjoy some conversation and hors d'oeurves before the show.  It was lovely, but without the aid of alcohol, I was out of my comfort zone, and it put one of my core theories to the test.  I'm pretty sure I am much more interesting, and a better conversationalist when I have had a couple of glasses of wine.  Plus, there are some people, in social situations who, purely because I had the benefit of a cocktail or two, aren't walking around with a plastic fork in their eye.  I'm happy to report that armed only with a bottle of water, I was able to interact politely with all several quite a few of the people there, and no blood was spilled.

We found a seat in the sold out crowd, snuggling butt to butt with strangers in the general admission seats under darkening skies threatening rain.  Now I have to say, as a California native, I didn't get Garrison Keillor at first when my husband shared what he thought was an "hilarious" cassette tape of his routine with me 25 years ago.  His folksy midwestern humor is an acquired taste, and not for everyone. But the more midwestern I've become, I have to admit I'm more able to relate to his hotdish and norwegian batchelor farmer references. But like Andy Griffith Show marathons - I can only take so much sweetness and purity before I have to knock back a couple of shots of tequila, then throw on the headphones and crank some AC-DC.  I was starting to feel a little of that when two things happened.  First, it started to rain.  And I watched as that crowd of predominately over-50 midwestern Lutherans first pulled up the hoods of their jackets, then as quietly and unobtrusively as possible opened their umbrellas.  Sure, some left, but for the most part, the audience stuck with Garrison who sang and quipped under the solid roof covering the stage, warmed by the massive light bars.  Then the second thing that happened made me put aside any thoughts of sneaking out early - The man stepped out into the audience, and protected by no more than a single spotlight along with his rumpled linen suit, wandered up and down the aisles as he finished his 15 minute story, never missing a beat, in the rain!  Now that's a performer!!

So, I guess I learned that sometimes at the end of the day you have to believe that your efforts were, if not what you'd hoped for, good enough.  When you commit to something, whether its a show or a lifestyle change, you do the best you can with what you have and maybe, if its not too dangerous, you step out of your comfort zone, into the rain to be closer to your supporters.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The First Step

Gaaah!  September 1st.  Today is the day I start.  Am I really going to do this?  OK.  Lets go!

....Where are we going again?

Ummmmm... as near as I can tell, some vague "more zen-like" "empty nester" "a year from now" place...

Alrighty then, I guess I need to be clear, to come right out and state what it is I'm trying to accomplish... but, can I confide in you?  I'm afraid.  If I say these things out loud, it will be admitting that I'm not perfect, that I have (gasp) flaws!  And holy cow, putting this in writing is kind of like making a commitment.  If I do that I can't fool myself later, or back out, or cheat.

Well Duh.

You know as well as I do that you have to state your goal  - you have to have a plan!  A road map to success!  You have to Take The First Step!  And while you're at it, that goal has to be:
S Specific
M Measurable
A Attainable
R Relevant
T Time-bound

...And hey, just who are you talking to anyway?

Ummmmm... as near as I can tell, the Ghosts of Self-Help Seminars Past...All right, here it is.

For the next 30 days I will only eat the foods on the eating plan I have made for myself, and I will record what I eat on a food diary.  The eating plan does not include alcohol, or coffee, but does include several glasses of water.

For the next 30 days I will do the strengthening exercises prescribed by the physical therapist for my knee pain.  I will walk on the treadmill daily, working up to 3 miles per day at 3 miles per hour.  I will practice the yoga stretches I know at home with the understanding that I will eventually join a group or class.

For the next 30 days I will get up at 6a.m. (or earlier) every day... including weekends... and establish a morning routine which includes breakfast, reading a specific limited number of blogs, news, and motivational sources.

For the next 30 days I will write something every day.  And for the next 30 days I will update this blog at least three times per week.

For the next 30 days I will establish an evening routine which includes tying up the loose ends of the day, finishing that day's tasks, and "actively" reading a book of significance.

The next step is to look at all the things that are keeping me from accomplishing my goal and build into the plan ways to overcome them.  And all along the way, I need to make sure I am making progress.  That's where you come in.  Suggestions, encouragement, peer pressure.